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Today (May 22) marks the 48th birthday of Compton-born gangster rapper MC Eiht. Known for his role in the 1993 cult classic film, Menace II Society, MC Eiht created an entire body of work out of his experiences growing up in Compton.

His name was inspired by the numeral element in KRS-One’s moniker, but he chose the number “8” because of its significance in “hood culture,” including 8-balls, Olde English 800, and .38 caliber handguns.

As the de facto leader of West Coast Hip Hop group Compton’s Most Wanted, he helped introduce the world to fellow Compton-based rappers Boom Bam, Tha Chill, DJ Mike T, DJ Slip, and Ant Capone.

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He’s released an astonishing 16 albums, culminating with the yet-to-be-released Which Way Iz West. Often mentioned in the same breath as DJ Quik, the two previously had problems, but have since worked them out.

Happy Birthday to the Straight Up Menace!